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John Frieh

second winter ascent [TR] Mt Huntington - Nettle-Quirk 3/19/2011

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Trip: Mt Huntington - Nettle-Quirk

 

Date: 3/19/2011

 

Summary:

On March 18th, Jason Stuckey (Fairbanks, Alaska) and I, John Frieh (Portland, OR), flew from Talkeetna to the Tokositna Glacier below Mt. Huntington. On March 19th we climbed to the summit of Mt. Huntington via the West Face Couloir (Nettle-Quirk), and descended via the same route, in just under 23 hours round trip (returning to camp on March 20th around 5 am). I believe this was the second ascent of Mt Huntington during the winter season. We found the route to be nearly all glacial ice which made for a slower than hoped for ascent as well as some amazing calf pump. Nevertheless we were pleased to complete the route to the summit and back in under 24 hours. Finally, Paul of Talkeetna Air Taxi picked us up around 9:30 am on the 20th making for less than 48 hours total in the range. Smash and Grab.

 

Mount Huntington courtesy of Talkeetna Air Taxi

huntington_1.jpg

 

Itinerary:

March 17: PDX -> SEA -> ANC -> Talkeetna

March 18: Paul/TAT flew us to the East Fork of the Tokostina Glacier (~11 am). Quickly set up camp and then scouted the lower portion of Nettle-Quirk. Returned to camp.

March 19/March 20: Mt Huntington summit via the West Face Couloir (Nettle-Quirk). Approximately 23 hours (6 am on the 19th -> 5 am on the 20th) bergschrund to bergschrund. Paul picked us up at 9:30 am on the 20th.

 

Details:

- Though Jason lives in Fairbanks and has climbed all over the great state of Alaska this was his first trip into the Alaska Range. By chance I met Jason less than a month ago in the Anchorage Airport on my way home from Valdez. I can't thank him enough for taking a chance to go climbing with a complete stranger.

- This trip likely would never have happened if it not for the excellent beta that Paul Roderick and Mark Westman provided on conditions and their opinion of the weather forecast. Mark especially has been a great source of AK beta for me over the past few years and I owe him many beers for that. Do me a favor and buy him one next time you drink with him :brew:

- I also owe Colin Haley and Jed Brown thanks for the beta from their ascent of Mt Huntington in 2007, the first winter ascent of Mt. Huntington. Buy them beers also :brew:

- Finally many thanks and much respect to Gym Jones for all that they have provided me. I consider their guidance and perspective one of the most valuable tools I have as a climber.

 

studentmaster.jpg

 

housetwight.JPG

 

Finally: the climb

 

March 18:

 

TAT is so cool they let us bivy in their office :tup:

hunt_1.JPG

 

I let Jason have shotgun as it was his first time into the range :rawk:

hunt_2.JPG

 

Room with a view :grlaf:

hunt_3.JPG

 

Crossing the schrund to recon what we would do in the dark the next morning

hunt_4.JPG

 

March 19:

 

Soloing thin slab early in the morning

hunt_5.JPG

 

Glacial ice: hope your tools are sharp!

hunt_6.JPG

 

hunt_7.JPG

 

Near the top of the couloir

hunt_8.JPG

 

Traverse pitches

hunt_91.JPG

 

Pull your balaclava down for the photo on 3

hunt_11.JPG

 

Looking back from the summit at the summit ridge

hunt_12.JPG

 

March 20:

 

48 hours later: back in Talkeetna :brew:

hunt_13.JPG

 

 

 

Approach Notes:

Talkeetna Air Taxi

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Nice work John. All that Cody WI got your calves in shapes right?

 

Looks like the temps were pretty good considering you had your gloves off for the summit picture? Or at least tolerable...

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Smash and grab beats sitting on the glacier for two weeks waiting for a weather window. Way to throw down!

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Excellent job! Way to take advantage of one of the best weather windows we've seen in a very long time!

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way to go guys!!!

finding that magic window of weather, a partner as motivated as you, being able to take off work/leave the fam, and enough coin to make it happen is pretty darn impressive. i think as payment you need to set up a tent in your living room and be forced to sit in in for at least a few days.

kudos!

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i think as payment you need to set up a tent in your living room and be forced to sit in in for at least a few days.

preferably w/ some goddless hobo you've picked up off the street, free of all social graces and incapable of controlling most bowel functions :)

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i think as payment you need to set up a tent in your living room and be forced to sit in in for at least a few days.

preferably w/ some goddless hobo you've picked up off the street, free of all social graces and incapable of controlling most bowel functions :)

 

should be easy in anchorage

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way to go guys!!!

finding that magic window of weather, a partner as motivated as you, being able to take off work/leave the fam, and enough coin to make it happen is pretty darn impressive. i think as payment you need to set up a tent in your living room and be forced to sit in in for at least a few days.

kudos!

 

LOL, yah: or maybe in the shower...little sufferin is needed here. Man, that's some awe inspiring conditioning right there. Off the couch and up to the top. Bad assed.

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i think as payment you need to set up a tent in your living room and be forced to sit in in for at least a few days.

preferably w/ some goddless hobo you've picked up off the street, free of all social graces and incapable of controlling most bowel functions :)

But you have a job to go to, Ivan.

 

I love the opening shot. Cheers!

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Hey John, I heard that the upper half of the route (after the ice gulley) is not usually done in the late spring and early summer due to the sloppy snow and avi conditions. Do you think that the snow is better in the late winter making a full ascent more likely? (given a good weather window)

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